Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Publishers Fight Back - 2

I don't seem to hear too much about the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), which is being developed by a group of content producers under the aegis of the World Association of Newspapers but they released a press release about the progress of the initiative. To refresh, the ACAP is new standard to allow on-line content providers to automatically communicate information to search engine operators and others on how their content can be used. From the press release:
  • ACAP is building on existing technology including Robots Exclusion Protocol and is using established methods for defining standard permissions semantics.
  • Collaboration and support for the project has been overwhelming: the list of 28 organisations continues to grow and represents a worldwide interest in the project (partners are listed below).
  • Work is now underway to prepare ACAP for the post-pilot stage -- to hand over a long-term sustainable model to a pre-existing governance organisation or to set up its own ACAP governance organisation.
Effectively, the group is establishing a standard way to lock (or make available) the content on content providers web sites. This tool will allow publishers to select the content that they want crawled and thereby better control the access to their content. The tool is being developed so that when in place, a webcrawler will be able to read the permissions information and act accordingly. No human intervention required other than for the publisher to set the initial parameters.

“What we seek to do together is create the foundations for what is surely the highest aspiration that publishers, aggregators, search engines and politicians could have for the content industry - namely an increasingly healthy, profitable and vibrant sector which drives knowledge and diverse thinking throughout the internet and the world and which creates new opportunities for everyone," said Gavin O’Reilly, President of the World Association of Newspapers.

One hopes it is all not a bit late....

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